Plastic Water Bottles Update


In a previous tip I suggested which water bottles do not leach chemicals into the water, and how to tell which bottles are safe to use. I suggested that those extremely popular hard plastic
colourful lexan water bottles with the recycling number 7 on them leach Bisphenol A, a xeno-estrogen and endocrine disruptor, into the water. You can’t taste it at all, so it is easy to think your water is not affected. Synthetic xenoestrogens are linked to breast cancer and uterine cancer in women, decreased testosterone levels in men, and are particularly devastating to babies and young children. BPA has even been linked to insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes. Nalgene, the company that manufactures the lexan water bottles also makes #2 HDPE bottles in the same sizes and shapes, so we have a viable alternative. Order one at Nalgene.

Unfortunately, most plastic baby bottles and drinking cups are made with plastics containing Bisphenol A. In 2006 Europe banned all products made for children under age 3 containing BPA, and as of Dec. 2006 the city of San Franscisco followed suit. In March 2007 a billion-dollar class action suit was commenced against Gerber, Playtex, Evenflo, Avent, and Dr. Brown’s in Los Angeles superior court for harm done to babies caused by drinking out of baby bottles and sippy cups containing BPA. We need to move away from storing food and water in plastics, and use glass or ceramic instead. If you still use a microwave, remember to NEVER microwave food in plastic containers or use plastic wrap to cover the food, as the plastic will infiltrate the food and you will then be eating it.

Plastics may be convenient, but they are not generally good for our health nor the health of the planet, as they don’t break down easily. Plastics frequently wind up polluting our oceans and waterways, and are very harmful to the sea birds and other marine life that get entangled in plastic bags, fish net remnants etc. Wildlife frequently ingest small plastic pellets thinking they are fish eggs which makes them sick.

And the onslaught of plastics into our oceans continues, year after year. For an insight into that topic read The Plastic Sea to learn what our consumption habits are doing to our home, and the home of our fellow species.

Related tips:
Plastic water bottles
Microwave ovens: convenience vs. health and nutrition

Chek, Paul; How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy! Chek Institute, San Diego, CA, 2004.

Alonso-Magdelena, Paloma; "The estrogenic effect of Bisphenol A disrupts pancreatic β-cell function in vivo and induces insulin resistance" Environmental Health Perspectives Vol. 114, No. 1, Jan. 2006.

vom Saal, Frederick and Hughes, Claude; "An Extensive New Literature Concerning Low-Dose Effects of Bisphenol A Shows the Need for a New Risk Assessment" Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 113, No. 8, August 2005.

Hunt,Patricia;"Bisphenol A Exposure Causes Meiotic Aneuploidy in the Female Mouse" Current Biology, Vol 14, 546-553, 1 April 2003.

Schonfelder, Gilbert et al.Parent Bisphenol A Accumulation in human maternal fetal placental unit Environmental Health Perspectives Vol. 110, No. 11, Nov. 2002.

More studies

Copyright 2005-2007 Vreni Gurd


  1. ed said,

    July 4, 2008 @ 8:44 pm

    Is it all plastic water bottles and water jugs (like those tennis players use) that contain the number 7 that are dangerous? Or, is it just the clear Lexan Nalgene bottles? Thanks!

  2. Vreni said,

    July 5, 2008 @ 12:36 pm

    Hi Ed,

    Number 7 is a catch-all number for a variety of kinds of plastics, but most of the hard polycarbonate plastics do contain BPA. That said, companies are now trying to make the plastic without it. The problem is we simply can’t tell just by the number alone which have BPA and which don’t, and therefore in my opinion all number 7s should be avoided.

    I posted an article on this topic on the website and a few of the commenters know a lot more about plastics than I do. According to them, all plastics have some edocrine disruptors in them, so a strong argument can be made for not mixing plastics with food and drink at all.

    In my neck of the woods, no one uses those hard #7 plastic water bottles anymore – they have been replaced with stainless steel. It is very interesting to see how there came to be a tipping point with this issue – enough of the public was concerned to force the retailers to stop carrying the BPA plastic, and overnight, everyone seemed to switch to stainless steel.

    Good luck!

  3. Marianna said,

    November 13, 2008 @ 4:09 pm

    Thanks for all the info! Very helpful. I was wondering if you know of any water bottle distributors or companies that sell bottled water that use BPA-free plastic? I need to order water bottles for my office and wanted to make sure I was getting the good stuff. Any help would be appreciated.
    thanks again!

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